Vaping has been linked to five more deaths and 118 more lung injuries, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In total, 47 people have died and 2,290 have gotten sick. Most patients are male and under the age of 35, while the median age of those who have died is 53.
Most also have used products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The CDC recently announced it found a link between the lung injuries and vitamin E acetate that sometimes is used as a diluent in THC vaping products, although officials are not ruling out other possible causes.
The climbing death toll comes just days after the CDC released new guidance on caring for patients with vaping-related lung injuries during flu season, when respiratory illnesses also will be growing.
Patients who present with respiratory, gastrointestinal or constitutional symptoms should be asked about their vaping history, and testing should include pulse oximetry and possibly chest imaging, according to the guidance.
Clinicians also should consider testing for flu and treating with antimicrobials. Treatment of lung injuries may include corticosteroids, but the CDC cautioned such treatment may worsen respiratory infections.
The CDC encourages clinicians to consider vaping-related illnesses in patients with lung disease, collect detailed information on the products patients were using and report suspected cases to their state health department. For guidance on coding these encounters, visithttps://www.aappublications.org/news/2019/11/21/coding112119.